Seaside cottages, disobedient dogs and the magic of muse

A Cornish Summer's Kiss ebook cover jpgI don’t post on the Fabrian Books’ blog as often as I probably should, but every once in a while I have more to say than can be confined to a tweet or series of hashtags on Instagram. Today is one of those occasions. I am (very quietly) celebrating the launch of book fourteen, which might extend to an extra squeeze of syrup on my pancakes tonight… or it might not!

After thirteen previous occurrences, book release day is just another day. So I took the dogs out for a walk as I always do. Whilst I was out, I thought I would take a photograph of a house on the beach close to me, which reminds me of the book cover for A Cornish Summer’s Kiss. You might question whether there are really any thatchedimage5 cottages that overlook the sea, with white cliffs in the distance, but I can promise you there are. It might not be cut off from the rest of the world at high tide, like Myrtle Cottage in A Cornish Summer’s Kiss is, but I think it’s lovely all the same.

I almost ended up acting out the first scene from the new novel, just to get the photos today. When Lexie heads down to Port Kara to work out a way forward after the death of her husband in a surfing accident, she finds herself stranded on an impassable cliff path after her wayward Labrador, Albie, takes an unexpected leap of faith. I often find myself in slightly precarious situations with my dogs because, let’s just say, they’re not exactly trained the Barbara Woodhouse way – for anyone else who’s old enough to remember who that is! Their default position is to run off and pretend to be as deaf as posts when someone or something more interesting than me comes along; that could be anything from a rabbit, to another dog, or even dancing leaves swept up on the breeze. This means, if I’m going to let them off the lead, then it’s usually somewhere off the main path, where we hopefully won’t bump into other dog walkers with their far more obedient canines.

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The dogs in the background today and the selfie face I always pull when I’m desperately trying to look thinner!

I was in the Llyn Peninsula in Wales when I actually got stuck on the wrong side of a gap in the cliffs, getting myself into serious trouble, just like Lexie, trying to rescue my own Labrador, Lola. Sadly I wasn’t saved by a rugged lifeboat crewman, as Lexie is in A Cornish Summer’s Kiss, but I have to say I’ve never been as grateful for my husband’s ability to keep far calmer than me, than I was that particular day. On that same Welsh beach I spotted a row of old fisherman’s cottages, that were cut off by high tide, and it was the combination of these two things that inspired me to write the first chapter of what became A Cornish Summer’s Kiss.

My plan when taking the photos today was just to post the pictures and the front cover, side by side, but it got me thinking about why I write about seaside settings more often than not. I was born a couple of minutes from the sea and only once ever lived more than a few miles away from the coast. I lasted twelve months in Warwickshire, but the lure of the sea soon drew me back home to Kent. I’ve now written seven books set on the Kent coast, three in Cornwall (a favourite UK holiday destination), two in the Scottish Highlands and one in the Kent countryside.  I suppose it’s in the blood and living so close to the sea, even now, I can’t help but imagine my protagonists living their lives with the smell of sea salt in the air too.

It also occurred to me, when I was scaling the banks of the slope today, that dogs feature image3in almost all of my stories as well. Like the sea, they’ve been in my life from day one, and I couldn’t imagine my house without at least one dog thumping its tail on the mat to welcome us home. Walking the dogs always helps me get the next phase of the story straight in my head, so it’s no surprise that they should frequently appear as integral characters in my stories. These days, with teenagers in the house – one of whom has turned mood swings into a semi-professional occupation – escaping with the dogs is even more of a draw.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn A Cornish Summer’s Kiss I write about the big skies and endless horizons that you just don’t find elsewhere. Walking the dogs today, and taking some photos to mark release day, reminded me just how lucky I am to be surrounded by so much inspiration. It looks like I’ll be writing about seaside locations, and the dogs that love them every bit as much as their human companions, for some time to come!

A Cornish Summer’s Kiss is available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. With a big thank you to all at Fabrian books and my lovely friend, Toni Jones, for helping the book over the finish line.

Jo Bartlett

A Summer of New Releases and New Authors!

It’s been a busy few weeks at Fabrian Books.

We’re delighted to say that two new authors have joined us. Welcome to Fabrian Books, Zara Thorne and Pat Posner. Both are experienced writers with a pretty impressive body of work behind them. You can read all about Zara here, and about Pat here. Zara’s debut with Fabrian Books is already available (more about that in a moment) and Pat’s first release will be out in the near future. We’ll bring you the news as soon as we confirm dates.

Recent weeks have seen the release of three new publications in our “Fabrian Books’ Feel-Good” selection. These books are what we call our heart-warming collection. We have some wonderful stories which, in many cases, were previously published in magazines or as pocket novels. They are what they say – feel good stories, which will leave you feeling all warm and cosy inside. We guarantee a happy ending!

In mid July, Zara’s first Fabrian release, Escape to Sunrise Cottage, was released. This was followed in early August by Jo Bartlett’s second in the Channel View Farm series, Second Chances at Channel View Farm. With Give Me Your Answer Do achieving bestseller status on Amazon (as have all Jo’s Fabrian publications!) it was gratifying to see that SCACVF promptly followed suit. Congratulations, Jo!

 

 

 

At the weekend, on August 12th, Sharon Booth’s second Feel-Good book was published. New Doctor at Chestnut House, set in the village of Bramblewick on the North Yorkshire Moors, is the first in a new series based in and around a country doctor’s practice.  It was lovely to see Sharon’s and Zara’s books close together on the Medical Fiction Hot New Releases chart on Amazon recently.

We have some terrific new stories lined up for you in the future. Pat Posner’s debut will follow soon, and then we are gearing up for Christmas. We have some wonderful books on their way, so keep a look out for them. You can find all Fabrian books by clicking on this link. Happy reading!

My (not so) Strange Addiction by Jo Bartlett

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m addicted… to watching medical documentaries.  It’s not the blood and gore that grips me, or even the drama of the pending diagnosis, it’s the emotions of the people involved. My favourite is probably 24 Hours in A&E, because they film talking head segments with the patients and their loved ones, alongside footage of the action in the emergency department itself.  These segments give such an insight into relationships, love, loss and the ties that bind, that each one could probably warrant a novel in itself.

With this addiction and the impact that the stories behind the emergencies have on me, I guess it was only a matter of time before I wrote a novel with a medical theme.  A Highland Practice is set in the wilds of Scotland and, whilst it’s centred around a rural GPs’ surgery, it has its fair share of high octane emergency, between the more routine consultations.

I was in America recently and watched a documentary over there about a woman in India who was purportedly crying blood. To cut a long story very short, it turned out she was actually biting the inside of her cheek so hard that it bled, so she could use it to convince her family she was crying blood. Why? Because she’d suffered agonising stomach pains for years and no-one would take any notice of her. In the remote Indian village where she lived, it took the perceived threat of supernatural forces to make anyone notice her pain. The happy ending was that the doctors in the city realised what was happening, gave her a placebo for the crying (so her family were none the wiser about what she’d done) and operated to resolve her stomach pain.

Medical staff have to deal with all sorts of situations and it seems to me that as often as not the emotional and psychological needs of patients are just as demanding, if not more so, than the physical ones. I hope I’ve manged to capture that in A Highland Practice too. It’s got medical themes, of course, but ultimately it’s about people, friendships, love and the uniqueness of life in a rural community. And if you’re kind enough to download it, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did researching it.

Jo Bartlett

Endings and Beginnings

We’re edging towards the end of 2016, and at Fabrian Books we’ve been looking back at a great year, during which we’ve published some amazing titles.

Eden for Susanna's blogOur year began in April, with the release of Sharon Booth’s romantic comedy, This Other Eden. Featuring a sexy sheep farmer called Eliot, an ageing rock star and his spoilt princess of a daughter, a cheating politician, and a rather confused young woman called Eden, it was described by one enthusiastic reviewer as “a hugely entertaining jaunt of a novel through the Yorkshire Dales”, This Other Eden is the first in Sharon’s new Skimmerdale series.

 

beltane-newistJune saw the publication of Beltane, the first of Alys West’s amazing fantasy series, The Spellworker Chronicles. It’s  set in mystical Glastonbury, and follows talented artist, Zoe, who is plagued by strange dreams. Working in Glastonbury, she encounters the rather gorgeous Finn, who seems disturbingly familiar to her. Dark forces are gathering around the two of them, and it’s no wonder one reviewer admitted she “couldn’t put this novel down”.

 

tdkd-coverIn August, Alys turned her hand to a different genre, with the release of her steampunk novella, The Dirigible King’s Daughter. Set in an alternative Whitby, this gorgeous story features feisty heroine Harriet, and the utterly charming Charlie, as they face a race against time to clear Harriet’s name, when she’s accused of a rather serious crime. Described by one reviewer as “a tale of romance and peril against the background of the thrilling flights of the dirigibles and escapades on steam-powered omnibuses” it’s “terrific fun and a lovely romance story”.

 

51uc3fcsfslSeptember brought the publication of the third in Sharon Booth’s Kearton Bay series. Once Upon a Long Ago is set in the gorgeous former fishing village and smuggling stronghold of Kearton Bay on the North Yorkshire coast, and, this time, it follows the adventures of stubborn, practical Lexi Bailey, and the sweet-natured, gentle lord of the manor, Will Boden-Kean. Will has been in love with Lexi for many years, but she’s never even noticed. Unfortunately for Will, she quickly notices his rather handsome cousin who arrives in the village when Will’s father passes away. Secrets, lies, hidden treasure, and a hero from the past,  plus a beautiful stately home, and a cute chocolate Labrador called Buttons, all feature in this story, which one reviewer described as “Downton Abbey meets Upstairs Downstairs with a touch of Cluedo!” Another hailed it as “Another super read from the pen of Ms Booth”.

 

baxter-ebook-coverOctober saw the release of not one, but two new books – both feel-good novellas, and just 99p each. The first was Sharon Booth’s Baxter’s Christmas Wish. Starring Baxter, the boisterous Boxer dog, it’s a tale of love, home, and second chances. As one reviewer put it, “This is a lovely, warm and fuzzy love story with a wonderful dog and a little boy who adores him at the heart of it”.

 

gmyad-ebook-new-version-finalJo Bartlett’s October offering was the lovely Give Me Your Answer Do. Set on a farm overlooking the English Channel, and featuring lots of cake, weddings, and the world’s naughtiest donkey, it would be difficult to find anything not to love about this story! The reviewer who wrote “a completely charming read which is as enjoyable as a slice of Ellie’s Mum’s Victoria Sponge cake” clearly agrees.

 

a-holly-bay-christmas-ebook-cover-v2Finally, November brought our last release of the year – Jo Bartlett’s Christmas novella, A Holly Bay Christmas. Another Fabrian feel-good book, priced at just 99p, this tells the story of Maddie, who runs a combined bookshop and tearooms in the Cornish village of Holly Bay. Maddie is completely devoted to her business, but when a handsome stranger arrives in the village, she finds herself drawn to him. But Ben has a secret, and when Maddie founds out what it is, it looks as if her budding Christmas romance is over before it really began. But, after all, it is Christmas…A Holly Bay Christmas became a best-seller just days after its release!

 

So that’s our round-up of this year’s Fabrian releases. But we’re not just looking back. Oh, no! We’re also looking forward to a glorious 2017. We’ll have new books from all your favourite Fabrian authors, but we’ll also be welcoming new authors into the fold, and releasing their amazing stories into the world. We’re very excited about them, and we’re sure you’re going to love them, too!

In the meantime, we’d like to thank you all for supporting Fabrian Books, and to tell you how much we appreciate all you lovely people who have bought, read and maybe even reviewed our stories. We’d like to wish you all a very merry Christmas, and a happy New Year.

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